When coronavirus no longer feels like an empty threat

A selfie by the author’s father, Jeff Slippen, on the train on his way to work in New York City last week.

Croton-on-Hudson, NEW YORK – At this point, the coronavirus has started to impact people all across the world in one way or another. As a high school student living in Westchester, the center of the pandemic in New York, the disease has begun to have significant effects on me and those around me.

For many months, the virus seemed far away from me and was by no means something that I truly saw as a threat.

But two weeks ago, my school cancelled our trip to Florida for spring training. At the time, it seemed ridiculous to me but in the past two weeks, the United States has undergone tremendous changes as people do their best to prevent the widespread virus from impacting themselves and their loved ones.

In my county alone, there are more than 100 confirmed cases and schools throughout the state of New York are closing rapidly.

On Tuesday, March 10, my school closed for the remainder of the week leading into our two week spring break.

While normally I would be thrilled to have the time off, the world seems to be shutting down. New York City has declared a state of emergency, cancelling all gatherings in which more than 500 people are present.

When driving around, people are wandering the streets in masks. While at this point, nobody that I know has the virus, the paranoia has begun to impact everyone. My father, who commutes to New York City for his job, has been working from home.

The pandemic has created issues for people regardless of whether or not they or those around them have contracted the virus.

As significant events continue to be cancelled – especially with spring break rapidly approaching – the chances of still attending those vacations, concerts, and other activities is becoming slimmer and slimmer with each new reported case.

For most teenagers, the boredom associated staying in is creating almost as much dread and anxiety as the virus itself.

As people continue to stress about the virus, it begs the question: is the media over-exaggerating this? And will this really impact me?

At this point, I think it is hard to tell, but as covid-19 continues to spread and individuals remain on high alert, the situation will continue to change.

Whether that will be for better or worse is still unknown.

Isabel Slippen is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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